Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down
After the terrorists attacked Paris, I lost it. I don’t know if it was my closer than usual tie with Paris - having stayed and studied there some years ago, and having friends there - or if the collective violence of the world had finally taken a personal toll. I hide snuggly in my forgotten little burg in the middle of America – basically unimportant to world politics as it’s on the edge of Detroit poverty. Even the terrorists don’t mess with Detroit. So it’s not just fear of terrorists that has taken hold of me.
I have been watching too much news lately. And most of it is ugly – or made to look ugly by greedy, self-serving reporting. When I’m not wanting to kill terrorists, I’m wanting to kill the news analysts.
For days, I have wandered around my place, mumbling to myself, checking the news, vowing to not watch again, then checking the news again. The result: a general malaise turned to dark depression – a condition I had years ago conquered. “WTF,” was all I could say. Is there any point in being alive anymore?
We live in a world where a previously free people are now coerced into accepting lifestyles they previously strongly stood against. Where policemen are killing young black men and women without explanation. Where our women have gone from hoochy mamas to just plain prostitutes. Where a man who stands for everything we hate leads the polls for President . Where, I fear, more and more, young and old alike will take their lives to escape the hopelessness of the world they see. Where lies are taken as truth, and truth may never be found again. Who wouldn’t want to leave?
Just as I was pondering where I could go that doesn’t stink with human insanity, my friend, Mara, called. I had even been avoiding her because I did not want to talk to anyone. And I definitely did not want advice.
“You have to face the grief,” Mara said.
At first, I thought, no more platitudes, please. But after we hung up, and in spite of my resistance, a light went on. Her words hit me squarely in the face. I was grieving. Grieving for lost lives across the world who didn’t have a chance against political greed and hatred. Grieving for my grandchildren, yet unborn, who might have to be born into the same vicious world. Grieving for the loss of what is right.
Oddly, just the recognition of that grief pulled me out of it. I realized I was giving the enemy what he wanted – that I should become hopeless and die. That I should not believe in life and liberty anymore. Warfare against that lying enemy kicked in, and I flogged that enemy with thankfulness, counting up my awesome freedoms, and letting hope take hold.